@40, @62: It's harder for a non-transgendered person to get castration surgery than it is for a transgendered person to get castration or gender-reassignment surgery. (Some transwomen get castrated before they get GRS; it's cheaper and lowers the dosage of estrogen they need for transition, lowering the chance of complications.) There are only a few "legit" surgeons who will do it for people who don't have a transgender diagnosis. Most require two letters, one from a therapist with a long-term relationship, and one psychiatric evaluation. People going to "cutters" usually don't want to jump through those hoops, or can't find a surgeon within reasonable travel distance.

The basic problem here is, while transgendered people are generally recognized by the medical community as having a legitimate condition, people who want something in between generally aren't. Not everyone who seeks this seeks it as a fetish. A lot of them are people who find (often through experimentation with androgen blockers) that they're happier without testosterone in their system. Androgen blockers can have nasty side-effects, so just staying on them isn't always an option. The surgery itself rarely has complications and the medical consequences are no worse than those of lowering testosterone any other way.
Awww, what a sweet story! I'm so happy for you RINM!

I'd just hesitate to classify this guy's unhappiness with his ball sack as body dysmorphic disorder since the absence of testicles from the scrotum -- Cryptorchidism -- is an actual birth defect, it's not some socially-imposed, imagined "defect" like not having big enough breasts. He was unhappy about his malformed sack and balls, realized he didn't need them at all, and cut them off. That doesn't smack of mental illness to me. The fact that he fetishized the whole process? It might be unusual, but that doesn't make it pathological. I'd be more troubled if he was unsatisfied with the castration and had further urges to remove other parts of his body, but he sounds like he's perfectly content.
Gee, I thought the story was sort of heart-warming, and it didn't sqick me out at all. The guy had all sorts of problems with his testicles. He researched his options, he picked one, and he waited several weeks before actually doing it.

I bet he could have found a doctor instead - cancer risk, whatever - but I don't think what he did was especially dangerous. Farmers castrate calves in the field, and most of them do fine. Assuming the cutter was careful about autoclaving (or pressure-cooking) the equipment and wiping the table down with a good antiseptic, I bet it was pretty safe.

Anyhow, I'm glad it all worked out.

Vince, your story is horrible. I hope you have recovered. Doctors are afraid to use too much anesthesia on kids, but boy oh boy, they messed up on you.

After corrective surgery he had a somewhat abnormal but functional rigging. He was unhappy with it and there were apparently, during that time period, not one but two relationships ended by deaths, which would be enough to traumatize anyone, let alone someone who was already dissatisfied with his ability to be a sexual partner.

I wasn't really making a case for or against this being body dysmorphic disorder. I was just analogizing. Nevertheless, the circumstances make me feel - and again I note that it's "feel" because I am not remotely attempting to make a diagnosis or even to meaningfully judge - that this decision was one made in order to relieve mental and emotional distress arising from body image issues. If that's what it took for him to be happy, then again, I'm glad it worked out, and since it sounds like he was even able to turn it into an erotic positive, so much the better.

I was only pointing out as a more or less academic point of interest that, to borrow a clumsy cliche for no reason other than that I want to, making lemonade out of lemons doesn't make it so that you didn't have lemons in the first place, and wouldn't it be nice if we could all choose if we wanted lemons or oranges or limes or whatever in the first place instead of being stuck with one?

Hating women, how's that working out for you?
Umm.... Chacun à son goût, I guess, although this makes me a bit queasy. Still, is this any worse than Heidi Montag's well-known fetish surgery? Or Cher's?

Do you mean surgery fetish? As in they're obsessed with plastic surgery?

Or a surgery to comply with a fetish?
@100 Balderdash- I never before considered the comparison of breast implants to what this gentleman did, but you're right. It's no different.
A doctor sliced open my skin and muscle (TWICE!) stuck his finger in the incision and slid it sideways to make a pocket, jammed a rubber bag in there then filled it with saline.
Why? Because I had the horrible birth defect commonly referred to as "small tits".
Odd? Yes.
Hot? Yes.
Different from this guy?
Not really, except that he had a slightly more legitimate reason for doing it.
Since the analogy to boob jobs has been made, I'll ask a related question that's on my mind. If I am finally happy with my body (age 41, B-cup breasts), but my husband has always wanted me to have larger breasts (18 years and counting), would I be crazy to consider doing that for him?

larger breasts will be a drag to carry around
they'll have to be redone every so often
family & friends & future lovers might think I was an idiot
all surgery has risks
reinforcing stupid societal pressure to get larger breasts.

Pro: Might get my husband to stop asking me to do this.
I find myself somewhat amused by all the comments worrying over the surgery itself. My father is a doc and routinely performed surgical procedures in our house and on the front porch. Once my brother, a minor at the time, cut his toe requiring stitches. He went to a hospital and called my father to get permission to perform a medical procedure. My father's response was a brusque "no, I'll fix you up when I get home from work tonight". About six hours later my dad was sewing up my brother's foot on the kitchen table.
It sounds like the "surgeon" made sure everything was sterile which can, in fact, be better than a hospital. Hospitals are disgustingly filled with germs, viruses and strange people bringing in any number of microbes, etc. There's a reason MRSA is mostly seen in hospitals. Personally, for any kind of minor surgeries I'd rather not go to a hospital if there would be any way of avoiding it. I think Americans are far too obsessed with the idea - which is an illusion in actual hospitals - of sterility and cleanliness during medical procedures. If the human body weren't able to deal with "crude" surgical environments every single wounded soldier would die from lack of proper facilities. My childhood kitchen was far from sterile but my father never got an infection any of the dozen or so times he did surgery on himself there; a disinfected surgical site and clean tools go a long way in reducing risk of any and all infections.
Erica P

If the only advantage to getting breast implants is that your husband might stop bugging you about it, I wouldn't do it. Weighing that one upside against all your concerns doesn't make it seem worthwhile. It's a bummer that he doesn't recognize that B cup breasts are hot, but at least you're happy with them.
Orv @102 has it right. There are experienced surgeons who do this as a sideline in their offices, mostly on the QT, since in the US doing stuff like this outside a GRS program is really frowned on. No offense to all of you equipped with boy parts, but taking off a testicle isn't really difficult---follow sterile procedures and make sure you snug that knot down so the artery doesn't bleed. Voila! you're a eunuch. Big risks are bleeding, infection (both easily managed/prevented), and buyer's remorse (not so easily managed).

I know trans women who did their GRS by starting here with bilateral orchiectomies (for the reasons 102 states)and then doing the rest in Thailand or India. Much cheaper, but it does have the side effect of taking them out of all the usual safeguards of a more established route.
@112 EricaP
It's YOUR body, not your husband's; you have to live with it. B-cups are lovely and absolutely normal (the average size in the world). Would your husband consider, say, getting surgery to make his cock longer than average if you wanted him to?
In addition, your husband may actually be disappointed at the difference in how your breasts feel to him afterwards - the texture will unlikely be the same.
Surgery is not trivial, so it's got to be something that will make you feel markedly better about your own life, not his.
You mention future lovers; many guys are absolutely turned on by B-cups and will be happier with you being natural. If your husband has a big boob fetish, then perhaps you could do an occasional threesome with him and a woman of appropriate size (unless that's more painful to you than breast surgery). He'll be happy, and you won't be sliced open. And of course, he'd have to reciprocate by letting you live a fantasy that may be uncomfortable for him.
EricaP, I don't understand why any woman has breast implant surgery (esp. if she's not in glamour/porn). You risk losing some or all sensitivity in your breasts - why lose one of the best inbuilt toys a woman has for someone else's pleasure? Don't do it!!
I don't get where all the "ewwww"s are coming from. This guy had medical problems, his body literally betrayed him so early on; it's understandable that he would feel at odds with it. Plus he was already HRT, so the scrotum didn't do its job properly anyway. I can't really see what the problem is here.

Agreed!! It is far more insidious and heartbreaking to see young women especially unhappy with their bodies because of what the media tells them is "normal". Small tits are so FAR from a "birth defect" it's not remotely funny. A life threatening surgical procedure because you fall slightly off one side of the bell curve? But I understand why individuals are driven to it. I just wish that becoming happy with who you are and what you have was more of a priority to the medical profession than simply cutting it off, or enlarging it.

And EricaP...would you have even ever told him if you'd wished he had a bigger dick? Okay of course in an open relationship you can go off and fulfill and any desires you have for some thing other than what God gave your partner, but otherwise I think he should have kept it to himself. And you have NO reason to undergo LIFE THREATENIN|G SURGERY to stop his whining.
i hooked up with a guy with one nut for a while, and i thought it looked kinda streamlined and cute.

this LW guy didn't have any nuts left, and just had the spare scrotum skin removed. whatever, i give myself tattoos at home. clean up before and after and you're pretty much set.

EricaP, your husband will also stop complaining about your lovely natural healthy (I hope!) awesome body if you kick his ass to the curb. just sayin'.
10 years ago, I was part of a film team documenting a transition from man to woman. So we also filmed the penis into vagina - surgery. It took 3,5 hours and the whole thing made me so aware of this woman having a vagina made out of scars and healed tissues and hurt nerve endings that in the end I changed my whole opinion, why could this woman not just live a life being a woman with a penis. She wanted normal intercourse, but could she really have it, with a vagina built out of scars and hopefully healed nerves? So when I read "recovery was a bitch", I know what pain he must have been in and I am wondering if it was really his way to fulfillment in his body and mind.
Wow, people will eroticize anything, won't they?

Thanks for sharing, LW, and I'm glad your recovery went well, and that you're happy with your body and enjoying life.
All's well that ends well I guess. If he's happier having done it then I can't say I know what's best for him. However, I think that anyone considering drastic measures or even just thinking about plastic surgery should at least get some counseling first. Just like getting a tat or new piercing, the euphoria of a body modification might not last forever. I have two tats that I wish I could afford to remove. Body modification doesn't necessarily mean permanent satisfaction. He might wake up one day and wish he had left well enough alone.
All elective surgeries that change your body in a non-superficial way (e.g. nose job, boob job, tummy tuck I understand, sex changes or elective amputations I don't) freak me out. I always have trouble understanding transgender people or cases such as these.
But that's just my gut reaction. And in this case the guy actually did manage to put his experiences and feelings forward in a way that I could empathize with him.
Thanks for the support, Amanda, Biologist, misspiggy, private universe, erin. He does like my boobs, and gives them lots of attention. He just also has a fetish for large boobs. And he has a fetish for changing me, to make me, step by step, less of a hippie and more of a sex goddess.

He's my dom, and in 18 years has never demanded this of me. But he asks every once in a while if I'm ready yet. I think part of it is a mind-fuck. He knows I don't want it, and it's hot for him to see me get nervous that he'll demand it of me. I used to say that I would consider it after I had finished breast-feeding, but now that's long over.

I was just curious if there were women on this body mod thread who were surprised at how much they liked their enlarged boobs.
@121: I'm just looking forward to the day when we can grow functional organs in vitro from a patient's harvested cells. Obviously, things like hearts and livers and kidneys and pancreata will be the first to be developed, but hopefully this advance could be extended to help transpeople (especially FTMs, who are kind of up shit creek today in this regard) get the junk they want.
This is not too far away. Scientists have already been able to grow functional, if deformed and disorganized, kidneys in culture.
@ 112: EricaP,

You are a wonderful giving wife. I hope your husband recognizes that how lucky and GGG you are. But, not once did you say that you wanted to change your breast size for you. I'm inclined to believe that "for him" or "he'll stop whining" isn't a reason. If you want it for yourself or have a medical reason that necesitates it, well then there is a reason. If I were you then I'd invest in some excellent push-up bras that add a size or two. It's only my opinion, but I can't see why altering your body is in your best interest and my loyalty lies with you, dear.

Take care.
@116 - by the way, we have an open marriage, so he does get to have sex with large breasted women. And I've been getting to experience plenty of my fantasies. But it's facile to suggest his fantasy of me having larger breasts can simply be satisfied by another woman's breasts.
@127 Thanks for the warm words - and yes, I have the push up bras and silicone inserts to fill them. He does tell me every day how lucky he is. I would love to be able to fulfill this fetish of his... but in the end I never can do it. Too much self-respect, I guess :-)
@ EricaP - speaking as someone with naturally huge breasts (FF) - DON'T DO IT! Not only is there the surgery, then there's having to haul those things around for the rest of your life. Exercise? Not without the most supportive bra. Back pain? You bet. Button down shirts? Never fit. The list goes on. It's fun having them when rolling in the hay, but unless you spend at least 25% of your waking time doing that, stick with what you got. Big boobs are overrated.
For me, it comes down to this. It gives him comfort and hurts no one else. In this rough 'n tumble world, that's just fine.

Does anyone else ever think of reincarnation? It explains so much. Child prodigies and other unusual talents, not feeling right in this body, longing for eunuchism (because it was so great that time in the old world).
Well, judging by his story he's on HRT so his testicle didn't really work anyway. I'd be alarmed if his parts were normal and functioning but since they're not it doesn't really matter if he cuts 'em off. Rather like having your tonsils out, I should imagine.
@126 Nevermind about growing organs, how about printing them?

@58 The Persian Boy was my favourite novel when I was younger. It's the only novel I have ever read that featured a castrated character. Highly recommended for those who don't know.
Let me see if I understand this correctly -- the balls were removed by a "cutter," not a physician? While strapped to a bondage table, not in a clinic? That's the most disgusting part of the story. Not that he was castrated, but that his balls were cut off by some amateur in a basement using, what, rubbing alcohol and garden shears? I don't give a shit how much "care" the BDSM community gives to safety and sterility. Needle play is one thing. Removing body parts is another. One mistake and this guy could have bled to death or had permanent damage.

And I don't care how experienced the "cutter" was. How did he get that experienced? Oh, and all it would take would be one "client" to change his mind after the procedure to sue the cutter's ass off. A non-physician performing medical procedures (or a real physician doing procedures in a basement on a bondage table) sets himself up for a whole lotta legal trouble.
@EricaP: Just chiming in to agree with @130. As another FF girl, big breasts are a pretty significant inconvenience, so only do it it you'll generally be happier.

@130: Have you tried Pepperberry? It's a pain in the ass to have to order button up shirts in from England, but it's better than nothing. Also easier than getting all my shirts tailored.
Everyone saying big breasts are a pain: I am a naturally well-endowed woman myself, and I discovered that all the back pain and bouncing pain went away when I stopped wearing a bra. It really was amazing. The pain persisted for a little while, but within days bouncing no longer hurt and neither did my back. Go braless for a week and see how you feel, girls!
Tried that for 3 days, @136, and by then I was so uncomfortable I went back. I felt like the only way I could cope was by being much less active than I usually am. Couldn't run up and down the stairs, had to walk instead. Spent more time sitting and lying to be comfortable. I gave up on day 4, when I realised there's no way I can get through a day of work trying not to run or move too much. To me, it seemed like definitely less pain with a good bra than with no bra.
I'm really glad when I run into stories like this because they keep me honest. I am a HUGE proponent of not judging the things that make other people feel fulfilled and happy. The idea of doing this completely terrifies and repulses me, and that is totally ok. After that initial knee jerk reaction I can look at it and realize just how positive this body modification was for the this individual, and it really does reinforce my view that we all have different paths to fulfillment and satisfaction, and some of them are incredibly deviant, and still beautiful. I am very happy that this man had the resources available to do this in a safe and healthy manner. Thank god for the internet, because a couple decades ago he would probably still be struggling with his body.

Infections don't usually start in the OR, they happen to patients staying in the hospital. The problem with this "cutter" is that he wasn't a doctor. Also, your dad gave people stitches on your front porch so therefore it's safe to get your fucking balls cut off by an amateur in their BDSM playroom? Castration will probably go OK, but if the cutter does manage to nick the femoral artery, the patient could bleed to death. Likely? No. But any surgery carries risks, especially ones in which potential complications are serious and happen very fast. In a hospital (or a doctor's private OR, as is the case with many plastic surgeons), the various medical professionals have a better chance of treating the problem than a cutter who has only ever sliced off testicles.

That being said, it's great that everything worked out so well for the LW. I just think he should have gone to a doctor.
Just gotta point out: the overuse of roundup and other industrial agricultural chemicals has caused an increase in male reproductive problems, including undescended testes. And Congress keeps approving their use, thanks to lobbyists like Bob Dole.
Similarly, the presence of birth control in the water supply causes male reproductive problems. We've got to take responsibility for that one though.
BEG @ 78, one of the causes of Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be of a concrete neuro-physiological nature. Some people are missing part of there cortical map that would correspond to one of there body parts. Their brain literally does not recognize their left leg, for instance, to be part of their body. Apparently this can cause severe psychological issues for which the only remedy is amputation. I think such cases are much like gender reassignment, but little related to the sexual fetishizing of disability.
WOW - I got letter of the year! Who knew this would provoke such an outpouring of comments. First, thanks to most of you who responded with understanding and intelligence. Unfortunately, some responded in ways that demonstrated both ignorance and lack of empathy for their fellow human beings.

Although several of the commenters have already provided accurate information about how the male body functions, let me reiterate these points.

Semen is produced by the prostate gland, not by the testicles. Sperm, produced by the testicles, is only a fraction of the volume of semen. Therefore, removal of the testicles does not materially affect the volume of semen ejaculated upon orgasm nor does it affect the physical capability of having an erection..

Testosterone is vital for male libido. In addition, the absence of testosterone in a man does negatively affect the ability to maintain muscle mass and therefore can affect masculine appearance.

Now to asnwer a few of the questions that people had about my story.

My first two partners, one of 2 1/2 years, one of eight years, did die from AIDS rleated causes prior to the introduction of the anti-retroviral cocktail in the mid 90's. Fortunately, I remained HIV negative.

I continue on HRT(hormone replacement therapy). My motivation for castration had nothing to do with wanting to reduce my sex drive or alter my masculine appearance or identity. With HRT, I get horny, have erections and orgasms.

Several of the commenters have questioned my mental health. I have had several years of individual and group therapy which I sought out for personal growth. Through the therapeutic process, I greatly empowered myself and strengthened my personal identity. I am a fully out gay man in my personal, community and professional life. I have a very healthy relationship with my partner of 10 years. My decision was made with a great deal of self-examination over a period of years and with extensive discussions with my partner. I understand the psychological origins of my desire to be castrated, and I find the eroticization of the childhood trauma as a healthy way of transmuting it into something positive. I was happy with life before castation - the castration added an additional positive dimension to my identity.

As some of you have surmised, it is extremely difficult to find a medical doctor who will perform an elective castration unrelated to transgender identity, and the chances of insurance paying for such a procedure are slim to none, with empasis on the none. My biggest concern was having the procedure performed safely. The man who helped me, and the man who assisted, had an understanding of the anatomy involved, were knowledgeable about procedure for orchiectomy, and knew how to maintain sterile technique. Was there risk involved? Of course. But I had satisfied myself that the risk was minimized. In addition, let me emphasize that no reputable cutter will ever ask for payment of any kind. This is done in kindness, one man to another. Therefore, I think the comparison to back-street abortions is mostly not applicable.

I think that wraps up my contribution. I think it's healthy to push the envelope of people's thinking, as Dan's column often does. Glad to have been of service in that direction..
I'm not a man, and I don't have any castration fetish or whatever, but I thought this was a cool story. This guy had insecurity issues, and he transformed them into something sexually positive. It was an extreme action, but he went about it in a logical, careful way. Good job.
@125 granted, there's some stylization stuff in the dom-sub thing you have going on, but i'm personally pretty stoked on being a hippy sex goddess, and fie on trying to separate the two! good luck to you!
the "Bouncy Ball" ad is a nice touch.

The eunuchs group will be in the Pride Parade, right?

Just so somebody doesn't start a meme about "Castration is what gay *is*".

I just can't keep up.
Anyone who has unregistered comments closed should open up @143, wherein the LW responds to many of issues raised in this thread.
Thanks for the heads-up, Ophian.
@145 - no disrespect intended, and more power to you, erin! But he wants me well-groomed and manicured, in tight clothes that show off my body -- it has been interesting and provoked the kind of introspection about my relationship to the world that I was hoping for when I signed myself over to him eighteen years ago. If this stuff came naturally to me, it wouldn't be so fascinating.
In case anyone would like to do some academic reading on the topic, here are a few citations:

1: Wassersug RJ, Zelenietz SA, Squire GF. New age eunuchs: motivation and
rationale for voluntary castration. Arch Sex Behav. 2004 Oct;33(5):433-42. PubMed
PMID: 15305114.

2: Johnson TW, Brett MA, Roberts LF, Wassersug RJ. Eunuchs in contemporary
society: characterizing men who are voluntarily castrated (part I). J Sex Med.
2007 Jul;4(4 Pt 1):930-45. PubMed PMID: 17627740.

3: Brett MA, Roberts LF, Johnson TW, Wassersug RJ. Eunuchs in contemporary
society: expectations, consequences, and adjustments to castration (part II). J
Sex Med. 2007 Jul;4(4 Pt 1):946-55. PubMed PMID: 17627741.

4: Roberts LF, Brett MA, Johnson TW, Wassersug RJ. A passion for castration:
characterizing men who are fascinated with castration, but have not been
castrated. J Sex Med. 2008 Jul;5(7):1669-80. PubMed PMID: 17961144.

For sure. The thing is, when you view transness from the cortical mapping and androgen/estrogen affinity standpoint it certainly suggests that there would be some accompanying intermediate gender and morphological identification. Gender identity and sexuality aren't necessarily binary, which might suggest that cortical mapping isn't either.

That being said, the same (ironic) mechanism of externalizing a smaller, marginalized group for the sake of the larger occurs with alarming regularity within the queer community. Just as there is so much transphobia in the LGB community, there is an abundance of genderqueer-phobia in the binary trans community.

The epitomy of irony if you ask me. Meh.

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